Lake Annecy Loop via the Mountains


The Alps are open for cycling.

Eric and an Alp

Above: That’s Eric.

My first “mountain” metric century of the year. Not fast, but fun.

This is one of my favourite times of year to cycle here. It’s finally a bit warmer, the (lower) roads are clear, and the mountains are snow-covered beautiful.

The 2010 debut for my road-bike. A fairly challenging but not too crazy three Col ride.

Eric and I started in Annecy, taking the cycling path for 25 kms or so, then turned up the road to Col de Tamié.

The easiest climb of the day first. A very pleasant ride with high mountains on either side. The Col de Tamié is at 907 metres, but for true Col hunters – see the map – the Collet de Tamié is at 960 metres nearby (thanks Eric for the tip).

Next, the Col de l’Epine is a great “half-climb“. Beautiful hairpins, clear views of the valley below, quiet road, but perhaps half the size of a famous climb – fun. Roughly 7 kms averaging a bit more than 7% – but a much steeper start.

Finally, Col de la Forclaz de Montmin is challenging and stunning. It’s the first place I ever saw a Tour de France mountain stage – and is a major reason I became addicted to cycling uphill. It’s only 9.5 kms, but is often crazy steep.

A pretty amazing loop, on quiet roads, and the legs survived the early season test.

Above: Old Dauphine Libéré graffiti that basically insults the UCI and Moreau (he won the Dauphiné on this climb).


Happiest while cycling uphill.


  1. I love the photos. What camera do you use? I know the light at this time of year can be great but I’d be interested to know what fits in your pocket but gives such vibrant photos.

  2. Hi Mark,

    Currrently, I am using a compact: Lumix DMC-TS1

    It’s one of the 1st of a new category of “rugged” cameras. It’s waterproof (not just water resistant), and can be dropped, etc. Very useful for how I use it. And the photo quality is not bad.

  3. Will,

    the problem with riding with you is that you always plan those great loops…which turns any normal loop into something kind of boring. The more I ride with you, the more picky I become. Where are the days that I was happy riding along a busy national road (I would have taken the motorways if it weren’t illegal)…so easy, no turns, no need for brains, just pushing on the pedals like a freak.


  4. Will,

    Was in Anncey for a week in July 2008. Climbed the Forclaz. Great photo’s, scenery, good memories.

    Thanks for fantastic website.

    Cheers Mark

  5. Thanks Will for the information. I too was out, from Geneva out to the Col du Feu, Terramont and Jambaz before heading back. Some stunning roads!

  6. Comme quoi, ça sert de continuer à rouler en hiver (même en vélo d’appartement). Bien joué pour ces 104 kms sur un beau parcours !

  7. Great website, I am aiming to ride Alpe D’Huez in early October 2010, hoping to get a few other cols in while I am there. I have bookmarked this page and will have a good read when I get more time. Inspiring stuff!

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  11. Chester Scott on

    Hey Will,

    I don’t know the calculation from your climbing measurement of hm to feet. Can you tell me how many feet of climbing this loop is? And, if coming from Albertville and the bike path, does it easily connect to your route? We’re looking a final day climb that is beautiful and challenging. This seems like a good one.



  12. Chet, hm means vertical metres. The map program often overstates the ascent a little. But 1900 looks reasonable for this loop. Maybe a touch less. So it would be between 6000 and 7000 feet.

    It is a nice loop. Although Forclaz is very steep at times.

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